Created By: DebossMarch 6, 2010 Last Edited By: morenohijazoOctober 30, 2013

Back To Basics

An arc where somebody has to go back and practice their original or basic powers.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Do We Have This One?

A reversal of So Last Season: It's a difficult fight against the Big Bad, and the hero's newer, more powerful powerups and weapons have been destroyed, damaged, or rendered useless. What's a hero to do?

Go back to where the started, using the weapon or Finishing Move they used to use in the beginning of the show. And what do you know? Despite having been reduced to The Worf Barrage twenty-five episodes ago, it works!

Definitely connected thematically to Where It All Began and a subtrope of Book Ends. Compare Bag Of Spilling.


Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • In Gao Gai Gar, Gai is forced to use Hell and Heaven to defeat the final enemy after the Goldion Hammer is rendered useless.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: The final blow is made by the tiny Lagann, not the absurdly massive titular mech.
  • Zoids New Century Zero Bit Cloud has to defeat the Berserk Fuhrer using only the Liger Zero's basic armor.
  • Gundam 00: the character's, Setsuna and Ribbon final fight. Both have had their newer mechs trashed by fighting each other, so they go back to original mechs from before the Mid Season Upgrade.
  • Naruto: Sasuke finished his super-powered battle against Danzo by using an extremely simple illusion he learned as a child.
  • Ayanes High Kick as Ayane's new "pro-wrestling" coach has her "go back to basics" by focusing solely on her kicking ability before he will allow her to compete in a supposed mixed martial arts tournament. She is unaware that he is actually preparing her for a kick-boxing tournament, where none of her wrestling moves will be allowed.
  • Goku from Dragon Ball Z using the Spirit Bomb against majin Buu, which hadn't been used since the Frieza arc.

Literature
  • The War In 2020, when the railguns run out of ammo, the U.S. 7th cavalry break out their gatling guns.
  • The Dresden Files, when Harry begins to tutor Molly Carpenter in the ways of magic, he has to completely review his own basic spells before he can teach them to her. This has a handy side-effect of significantly improving his grasp on his own magic.

Live Action TV
  • NUMB3RS had an example with Math. During a late episode in season 5, complete with Alan giving the Eureka Moment while referring to the beginning of the series that it's been about five years since Don and Charlie started working together. Charlie then brings up the Hot Zone Equation again, which he used way back in the first episode and when the FBI asked if he got something new, he said, "No, I got something old."

Video Game
Community Feedback Replies: 29
  • March 6, 2010
    Deboss
    Dude SPOILERS!
  • March 6, 2010
    MileRun
    Definitely connected thematically to Where It All Began and a subtrope of Book Ends.

    This example probably stretches it a bit, but:
  • March 7, 2010
    Alkthash
    Setsuna's and Ribbon's final fight in Gundam00. Both have had their newer mechs trashed by fighting each other, so they each end up taking a solar reactor from the 00 Gundam. Ribbons installs his in the 0 Gundam, the first Gundam and the one he originally piloted while Setsuna installs his on the Exia Gundam, the first Gundam he piloted.
  • March 8, 2010
    somerandomdude
    To extend the Twilight Princess example, you also use the very first special move you got from the ghost wolf before the first dungeon.
  • March 8, 2010
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    • In The War in 2020, when the railguns run out of ammo, the U.S. 7th cavalry break out their gatling guns.

  • March 8, 2010
    TJ
    • Sasuke finished his super-powered battle against Danzo by using an extremely simple illusion he learned as a child.
  • March 8, 2010
    Shrikesnest
    • In a hat trick for Twilight Princess, you need to use your goat wrestling skills that you learn in your humble peasant village on the final boss.
  • March 8, 2010
    dotchan
    Expanding on the Twilight Princess example, in video games the Final Exam Boss will often have you revisiting all the techniques you've picked up over the course of the game.
  • March 29, 2011
    Deboss
    bump.
  • August 6, 2011
    Deboss
    Examples added.
  • August 6, 2011
    Meeble
    Anime & Manga

    • Invoked in Ayanes High Kick as Ayane's new "pro-wrestling" coach has her "go back to basics" by focusing solely on her kicking ability before he will allow her to compete in a supposed mixed martial arts tournament. She is unaware that he is actually preparing her for a kick-boxing tournament, where none of her wrestling moves will be allowed.
  • August 7, 2011
    Koveras
    • In The Dresden Files, when Harry begins to tutor Molly Carpenter in the ways of magic, he has to completely review his own basic spells before he can teach them to her. This has a handy side-effect of significantly improving his grasp on his own magic.
  • August 8, 2011
    Deboss
    Updated.
  • October 5, 2011
    Deboss
    Bump.
  • October 6, 2011
    Arivne
    To avoid having so many spoilered entries, I suggest adding a general warning about the examples having spoilers instead.
  • February 18, 2012
    Catbert
    Bump
  • February 20, 2012
    Lumpenprole
    After recovering from having his spine broken by Bane, Bruce Wayne had to retrain both physically and mentally, getting in touch again with his inner Bat.

  • February 21, 2012
    Chabal2
    Assassins Creed uses this to justify the tutorial: your character has screwed up so badly he is stripped of his weapons and must go through learning how to use them all over again.
  • February 24, 2012
    morenohijazo
    Goku from Dragon Ball Z using the Spirit Bomb against majin Buu, which hadn't been used since the Frieza arc.
  • February 24, 2012
    MorganWick
    I read the laconic and thought this Needs A Better Title, since the title is waaaaay broader than the laconic and I would have expected the title to refer to a show that goes "back to basics" in its storytelling, like Adaptation Distillation or a reverse Cerebus Syndrome. Then I read the description and got confused, because some of it makes it sound like I wasn't that far off.
  • February 24, 2012
    benjamminsam
    I think the Twilight Princess example is more an example Chekhovs Skill than this trope, since Link doesn't have to re-learn or hone his skills prior to the boss fight.
  • March 5, 2012
    TBeholder
    How it's different from Bag Of Spilling?
  • May 10, 2013
    PsychoFreaX
    • Numb3rs had an example with Math. During a late episode in season 5, complete with Alan giving the Eureka Moment while referring to the beginning of the series that it's been about five years since Don and Charlie started working together. Charlie then brings up the Hot Zone Equation again, which he used way back in the first episode and when the FBI asked if he got something new, he said, "No, I got something old."
  • October 28, 2013
    Larkmarn
    I feel like it needs a new title and laconic. The title is such a stock phrase that it's way too broad, and the laconic makes it sound like an instance of My Kung Fu Is Stronger Than Yours where a fighter chooses to work on basic tactics and fundamentals to get stronger.
  • October 28, 2013
    Antigone3
    Literature: halfway through the Arrows trilogy, Talia loses control of her empathic abilities. Kris has to take her back to the earliest Gift-control lessons.
  • October 28, 2013
    kjnoren
    Possible names: Basics Are Still Effective; Bringing The Basics Back. Or Obsolescent Made Effective or Obsolescent Made Necessary?

    For that matter, I think the trope description should drop the many references to weapons and fighting. The trope will likely show up most often in that context, but I believe it's better to have a slightly broader trope description that fits the general thrust of the trope.

    Should the "gear down" that is a common theme in lots of modern time travel stories be included here?

    Literature:

    • Justified, lampshaded, and then subverted in Rats Bats And Vats and its sequel. The humans and their opponents the magh have slowshields that cause most projectile weapons to be useless, reducing most combat to be fought using tooths, claws, knifes, and bang-sticks. However, the suppliers of the slowshields do not have humanity's best interests at heart, and the humans realise they're better off without the slowshields.
  • October 28, 2013
    Larkmarn
    "Finishing Move, Starting Gear"?
  • October 28, 2013
    DAN004
    Subtrope of Older Is Better.
  • October 30, 2013
    Ominae
    In the Metal Gear series, players have to do this with Naked and Solid Snake when a game starts. Averted when Raiden first shows up in Metal Gear Solid 2.

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